MR ENTSCH: All of us in this chamber have seen the effects of the coronavirus on our respective communities.
Our live seafood sector was one of the first hit, and it was hit hard, with the majority of orders cancelled overnight.
The Australian government acknowledged this and immediately put into place measures to support our fresh seafood exporters and the thousands of associated local jobs.
As Asian markets recently started to reopen, the orders started coming in thick and fast.
The government announced a weekly Qantas freight flight from my home city of Cairns to Hong Kong, which will be chock-a-block full of 45 tonnes of seafood sourced from our fishermen.
This flight builds on an existing Qantas Sydney-Cairns-Hong Kong weekly flight and its 25 tonnes of freight space.
These flights are now locked in for local live lobster and live coral trout, and other fishers across the region will have the certainty that they need to get back to business, knowing that they can get their product to overseas customers once again.
David McAtamney from ISP Fish Market says that he will definitely be using this service to export frozen seafood, including lobster tails, to Hong Kong.
ISP Fish Market Cairns has a rich history exporting seafood into Asia. In fact it was the first company to load freight on the inaugural Cathay Pacific flight out of Cairns in 1993.
There’s no doubt that there’s still a long way to go on the road to recovery, but the signs are positive.
This announcement certainly gave my region and a critical industry a much-needed boost.